The Crying of Lot 160

An item identified as a Ronald Reagan Blood Vial is presently on offer:

The seller helpfully includes a detailed narrative describing the item’s provenance:

“These articles have actually been in my family’s possession since 03/30/1981, the day that President Reagan was shot in Washington D.C. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, my mother worked for Bio Science Laboratories in Columbia, Maryland. Her laboratory was the laboratory contracted by Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well as the George Washington University Hospital to handle blood testing as well as other types of testing. Her lab did the blood work and testing for President Reagan. The test tube and the lab slip that I have are for his blood work to be tested for lead on [Monday] 03/30/1981. The testing was completed and the test tube was sitting on my mother’s desk. At the end of the week, she asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and the test tube. The director of the lab told her no problem and really never gave it a second thought. It has been in my family ever since. My mother passed away back in November last year [2010] and my father passed away in January 2009. Prior to their passing, they knew that it was the only thing that I wanted with regards to their personal property or money that they accumulated over the years.”

Executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation John Heubusch said, “If indeed this story is true, it’s a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase.”

Seeking context for this little smear of Americana, we contacted our old friend Walter Sculley, the well known dealer in corporeal memorabilia. Speaking from his warehouse located somewhere in the Bahamas, he told us that while he did not have specific information about this particular item,  “there is enough Reagan assassination blood on the market to fill a bath tub”. He then commented that the stiff price being offered for a single vial was “hair-raisingly naive not to say bone stupid.” When pressed for an analysis as to who was likely doing the bidding, he said “DNA speculators, hedge funds, private equity, same old same old.”

Fragments of the bullets removed from the President are also “abundant”, according to the bone trader. “If you tried to reconstruct that bullet from the fragments that are floating around the marketplace, you’d have a projectile the size of a watermelon.” He also mentioned that “slivers of the Gipper’s polyp” dating from the 1980s were “more plentiful than splinters from the Old Cross”, while confessing that he has “never understood the Reagan end of the market.”

When asked to respond to the use of the word “craven” to describe such an auction, Sculley delivered the following riposte:

“Craven? What century is that guy living in? What’s ridiculous to me about this whole shebang, I mean Reagan was the great communicator about the unimpeachable virtues of the free market, right? So why not let the market decide what’s craven, and in any event, in case the guy at the foundation hasn’t noticed, craven sells, and sometimes craven sells in a super large way. Just ask what’s his name, that Facebook guy, he knows all about craven. I learned a thousand years ago, you can’t get all hot and bothered or queasy about what’s out there. Listen to the market, it will tell you who we are, not the other way around. With all due respect, Reagan would be spinning in his grave at the idea of lawyers getting involved in the sale of one measly little vial of dried blood.”


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